VIDEO: CEO of solar-powered lamp charity joins James Murray for a chat ahead of the upcoming BusinessGreen Leaders Awards
John Heller is the CEO of Little Sun, a social enterprise that produces solar powered LED lamps and chargers that provide clean, affordable light and power to communities without access to electric distribution networks.
The charity was set up in 2012 by renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen with the aim of bridging the world's of art, culture, and renewable energy, a collaboration which led to the design and development of the solar-powered lamps. Little Sun has two broad missions, firstly to help expand access to clean electricity access in developing nations using these lamps, and also to raise awareness of the benefits of renewable energy within the art world and among cultural leaders.
Heller, meanwhile joined the charity as CEO in 2018, having previously served as managing director of the Synergos Institute, a non-profit organisation focused on tackling poverty worldwide. Heller founded and led a social-purpose consultancy within Synergos that enabled corporations, foundations, and philanthropists to advance social impact, working with major clients such as Walmart, PepsiCo, eBay, Shell, Unilever, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Conservation International, and the UN Global Compact, among others.
Heller has also worked on major projects to tackle poverty and humanitarian issues in the likes of Namibia, Nigeria, Western Canada, and Thailand. He speaks fluent Thai and Spanish, and in 2014 received the Haverford College Award for Service to Humanity.
Ahead of the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards later this week - for which Little Sun is the charity partner - Heller joined James Murray to discuss the charity's efforts to tackle energy poverty in Africa, how the organisation began first began, and the role of contemporary art and culture in helping to expand awareness of climate change and the benefits of renewable energy. The conversation can be watched in full above.